A player that has really taken off is Spencer Ladner. Ladner, a 6-foot-7 and 240-pound tight end from Kansas City (Mo.) Pembroke Hill, was studying up when Big Red Report caught up with him.
"It's finals week, man," Ladner said. "At our school, we literally go over everything that we have learned in the semester and then there is a test on it. No open book. No nothing. Just memorization."
"I have tests until Wednesday. That's our last final. Just a couple of more days and the year will be over with. It's not that bad."
Ladner was one of the top performers at the recent Scout.com combine in Kansas City. He was happy with his performance and thought that he had a great chance to show off his skills.
"I thought that I did pretty well. I didn't test really that well, but that wasn't really what I was worried about. I was focused on how I would do on the one on ones."
"I thought that went well. I made some pretty good catches in one on ones. I didn't really get a chance to show my stuff in the seven on seven thing. Other than that it went really, really well."
The summer for Ladner technically starts on Thursday and he already has some plans in place. He is going to start taking some trips to see the schools that have been by to see him and offered. He also has plans to attend a camp on the west coast.
"I am going to take some trips to schools that have offered me so I can start think about my leaders. I don't really have any other camp or combine plans beyond the Nike camp at Oregon."
"I am going to take trips to Nebraska, Oklahoma, California, Michigan, Iowa and Wisconsin. I don't know when these trips will start. Maybe in the middle or the end of June."
I’m still very excited about Missouri,” said Burge, a 6-foot-2, 275-pound, three-star prospect who received an MU offer in mid-March. “Missouri, TCU and Northwestern, those are my top three right now.”
Burge, who also has offers from Stanford, Boise State and Fresno State, among others, is a classic ‘grinder’ – a defensive lineman who plays hard from whistle to whistle and is willing to do some of the inglorious things needed to help a team win.
“He’s one of the best defensive linemen I’ve ever coached, in that he has very good pad level and plays very hard all of the time,” Stratford coach Eliot Allen said. “he understands blocking schemes as they develop. A lot of guys, when they get to a down-block, it’s too late.”
Two years after he was born in Joplin, Mo., his family moved to Texas. He has grandparents living in Columbia, though, and his parents have passed down their Show Me State pride to him.
So, if anything, MU’s location is a positive in this instance rather than a negative.
“My dad can get me plane tickets to come home easily. The distance from home is not really a factor,” said Burge, rated among the top 90 players in talent-loaded Texas.
Burge, who is a teammate of 2008 bluechip quarterback Andrew Luck at the Houston high school, took a visit to Mizzou early in the spring and thoroughly enjoyed it.
“It was wonderful. The facilities were great and I really liked all the coaches I met. It was really nice,” said Burge. “I think it all sounds really good. [Missouri] could compete for a Big 12 championship. I could work hard for the first two years and then have a chance to play a lot. I’d probably redshirt the first year.”
Burge plans to spend the summer working on his speed – he runs a 5.2-second 40-yard dash – and will make visits to one-day camps at Mizzou and Northwestern.
“I’ll probably make a decision in the next couple of weeks,” he said.
Last week Scout.com was on hand at the Kansas City Chiefs Practice Facility to hold their Midland portion of the regional All-American Combine tour. Here is a look at the top positional performers from the camp.
Elysian Fields, Texas
Curry came all the way up from Texas, and when we walked up to the Kansas City Chiefs practice complex he was the first player waiting to register. He not only threw a great ball, but he put up some tremendous numbers in all of the combine drills.
Chris was one of the more physically impressive players at the combine, and was solid throughout the entire day. He was great in the one on ones, but he really shined in the positional workout earning high praise from his positional coach.
Blue Springs, Mo.
Carlos was not the biggest player, but he exhibited some of the skills that have made him one of the more talked about running backs in the state. He ran 4.44 forty yard dash, which will definitely put him on the map with some schools.
Staggs was tremendous in every drill and every match-up throughout the day. He really shined in the forty where he posted a 4.43, but was even more impressive in the one on one drills. He is very fluid in his routes and has the skills to be a serious player on the next level.
This was a hotly contested spot as there were some other receivers who looked very good, but Keon was amazing on this day. He posted the days fastest forty (4.34) and shuttle times (4.06).
Jones earned combine MVP honors after doing everything well. The Missouri commitment reports that he is now up to 25 offers and it is easy to see why. He made the play of the day on a diving catch in the corner of the endzone and posted a 4.78 forty.
Pembroke Hill, Mo.
Ladner was a real freak. He looked ready to line up in college right now. You do not usually see two tight ends on an All-Combine team, but these two guys are just that good.
Silver Lake, Ks.
Pegram pulled in his first official offer just prior to the combine, but more will probably fall in to place now. He was the most dominant offensive lineman in attendance and continously proved why in the one on ones.
Cody was an intriguing prospect coming in to the event, and he did everything he could to put his name on the map at an early age. The 2009 prospect was a real workhorse, and looked good on the offensive and defensive lines.
“Moose” was definitely an imposing figure. He has the size and frame to be a real talent on the next level. He looks strong now, but it is scary to think of what he will be like in a college weight lifting program.
No one had heard of this 2009 prospect coming in to the combine, but that did not stop him from coming and making a mark. He was not the biggest player, but he may have been the toughest.
LD Bell, Texas
Kestin made the trip up and it was a good thing, because he made All-Combine honors. He was a nice looking player in Dallas at our combine back in March, but looks even better now.
Jake was a real freak physically, and we were all pleased when he rolled through the doors just prior to the combine testing. He was unstoppable in the one on ones. He was just too fast to contain. I expect him to pull in some big offers by the time it is all said and done.
Hazelwood East, Mo.
Kirksey was aguy I was wanting the chance to watch in person. People have been talking aout his game for awhile, and he looked as solid as they have said. he did a nice job.
If there is a tougher player than Mark Mintken I would like to meet him. He looked like a piece of chopped meat by the time the one on ones were done, but the kid still had a smile on his face like he liked the pain. Like they say “You can not coach mean.”
North County, Mo.
Will Compton has really caught fire since the combine ended. He now holds offers from Ilinios, Kansas, Missouri, Northwestern and Wake Forest. He did well in the drills and put up some solid times.
Ellis was one of the more physically imposing players, and like McDonough he arrived just as the combine testing began. It was a good thing he did as he put up some of the days best numbers including a sun 4.5 forty.
Highland Park, Ks.
Caraway was the surprise of the camp. He looked tremendous in the drills. He has the speed and moves to be a natural corner. He posted a 4.35 forty yard dash time. He will now look to reel in that first official offer.
Lincoln Southwest, Ne.
Fisher did not post the day greatest times, but defensive back Coach Don Cox said that he was one of the most skilled guys that he coached at the camp. That is enough for me as Coach Cox has had the opportunity to work with some tremendous talents the past two years.
Gabe Lynn has started to earn some high praise in coaching circles throughout the Midlands, but now he has arrived in a big way. He will be one of the “Sooner State’s” top rated prospects in the 2009 class.
Hazelwood East, Mo.
Paine was one of the ore highly rated players coming in to the combine. He backed his ranking by performing well against the receivers and running backs, but impressed the most by running a 4.44 forty yard dash and a 7.14 in the L-Cone.